21 Ways to Create More Time Now

By on September 30, 2014

Time may be of the essence to everyone, but as a business owner you know it’s of the utmost importance. Time is money and it also seems to be the one thing that no matter how successful you are, you still feel strapped for more time!

While there’s no way to add an extra hour to the day, there are some great tools that are surprisingly simple in practice that can help you get a handle on more time. If you feel like you’re always looking to add some more minutes to your waking time, check out these tips for creating more time now. They may not all work for you, but even if you implement just a few of them, you’ll find time starts to stack up more in your favor.

Here are twenty-one ways to create more time now.

Say So

It’s a little word with a whole lot of power. People are always going to want more of your time than you’re likely to have available. You have to learn to say no to the things that aren’t serving you or your business’s greater good. That means at work and at home. You’ll have to miss some less important personal events because of important deadlines at work, so it’s okay to say no to personal invitations. Likewise, you’ll need to leave the office behind some days in order to attend important events in your personal life and it’s okay to say no to a long day or extra meeting that threatens to encroach on your family time. Learn the power of no and pausing before committing to something that doesn’t serve you.

Outsource Your Overwhelm

You can’t do everything yourself. You just can’t. Entrepreneurs and business leaders have stressed this important fact over and over again, yet business owners are consistently reticent to shell out the dough to hire an assistant or the help they need. Don’t make that mistake. Use your time wisely by hiring the right people to outsource aspects of your overwhelm and reclaim some highly coveted time.

Batch Task

When you batch task your time, you attack a certain chunk of your work in a ball to the wall manner that means no interruptions, no compromise and no distractions. Making good use of your time can help you create more of it by insisting that like-tasks get completed in one sitting period in a cram it out session of high-intensity work. It’s a great way to get stuff done efficiently, without distractions or interruptions that take your focus away and cost you time!

Close the Door On Your Open Policy

You own your business and you’re the boss, but close the door on the ever-popular “open door” business philosophy. It’s a great way for your time to get wasted, interrupted and destroyed. Your staff is going to go home at the end of the day having interrupted you many times because the door is always open, while you’ll be left trying to catch up into all hours of the night. Tell your staff you believe in the philosophy of the open door policy and that they are at liberty to request a calendar invite of time to you whenever you’re available, but they aren’t allowed to interrupt you when the door is shut. This helps block off your batch task time (see tip three) and it also allows your staff to start learning to problem solve on their own.

Multi-task the Right Way

It’s been shown time and time again that multi-tasking is pretty much a myth, but there are a few ways to get back important minutes to your day. One tip is to use transit time to make calls. If you have to drive to the office or a meeting, use that time in the car to use your hands free mobile to make calls and get caught up.

Turn Off the TV

Often times you’ll complain you don’t’ have time, yet you find yourself sitting in front of the TV watching the game or watching the news in the morning or at the end of the day. One great way to reclaim some time is to turn off the TV. It’s a time suck.

Take a Break More Often

This might sound counterproductive, but taking a break is actually a really important aspect of a successful time management strategy. The human brain can only take so much batch tasking or meetings and the human body can only handle so much sitting. So take a break in between meetings or jam sessions and move around. It gets blood flowing back into the brain, the oxygen follows and you’re mind can process and work quicker.

Make Your Meals Ahead and Pack Them

Eating out is a waste of money and usually not the best for your health. Try spending Sunday night at home cooking by yourself or with your family and batch out all your meals for the week. This can be for pre-assembled dinners you simply pop in the oven when you get home, or pre-made lunches you take to the office to cut down on time and money wasted eating out. Either way it’s good for your productivity, good for you wallet and good for your body. Batch task meal prep and watch the time come back into your life.

Stick to Your Boundaries

This goes hand in hand with saying no and closing the door on your open door policy, but at home and at the office, you need to stick to your boundaries. If you’re leaving the office at a certain time, respect your family and stick to that boundary to get home. If you’re at work and your spouse is interrupting, stick to your boundary and ask for your office time to be respected. You are responsible for setting, then consistently upholding your boundaries.

Set Intentions for Meetings

Meetings are another great time suck if they aren’t operated properly. Before accepting anyone’s internal meeting request, or even external meeting request, you need to ask them what the intention of the meeting is, the agenda is, and what the intended outcome or deliverables from the meeting will be before accepting. Odds are good that half of your meetings can be eliminated by doing this which saves you time, and ultimately saves you money by saving your staff’s time for productivity instead of meetings where they aren’t necessary.

Ask for Meetings at Your Office

Have a vendor or agency meeting you need to attend? Ask them to come to you. After all, you’re paying them to be on your team so ask that they make the commute to you. This can save valuable commute time for you by making the meeting on your home turf.

Delegate

Some tasks you’ll be able to assign to a VA or assistant, others are a higher level will need a certain caliber of professional to get the job done. That shouldn’t matter when it comes to delegating. You need to get more stuff off your plate and onto the plates of your contractors or staff. So before you blindly accept tasks or complete tasks, ask yourself if someone else could do what you’re doing (maybe even better than you can) and try to delegate as much as possible, when and where possible, to free up your time.

Get a Driver

Maybe this means you actually hire a driver, but if that’s not in the budget, then try taking public transportation if your city offers it. Cities like San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. offer extensive public transport options, which allow you to work while you commute, while cutting down on your unproductive drive time. It’s even a nice time to just catch up on reading or emails.

Work on the Plane

If you travel for work, there is no excuse for not working and being productive on your flight. Almost all airlines offer Wi-Fi on flights so you can check email and stay connected, or simply work on projects, presentations or readings you need to catch up on while you’re en route. Utilize travel time as productive time and you’ll be thankful you did when you get on the ground.

Turn Off Your Cell Phone

When you’re in a meeting or you’re batch tasking, make sure you turn off your phone. Phones can be a terrible distraction to productive use of your time, so turn them off or leave them somewhere where they won’t distract. Even a phone on silent will vibrate and knock you out of your groove – make sure it’s truly not going to disturb you and in meetings ask your staff to leave their phones out of it for the same reason. If the intention is to be in a specific meeting, every person there should be a vital part of it and not distracted by their phone.

Don't Check Your Email in the Morning

This sounds counterproductive but again, by stating your day with your personal routine and enjoying either a workout, mindfulness training or even just a great breakfast, you let yourself and your brain get into the day before bombarding it with the demands of your business. Try to wait until you get to the office in the morning to check your email.

Check Your Email an Hour Each Day on Vacation

Vacation is supposed to be the time you totally disconnect from the office and relax. And while that’s a great and important practice, one helpful way to capitalize on your time while away from your business is to set a one hour per day email policy, thirty minutes in the morning and thirty minutes at night, to help cull through the clutter that accumulates while your away. If you totally disconnect from the inbox, you might find yourself overwhelmed when you return. Stick to your own time frame and boundaries but by managing your inbox on vacation you can help save some time when you return to the office.

Workout Daily

Keeping active is a great way to not only manage your physical health, but your mental health as well. When you start the day with some movement, it gets your creative juices flowing and the blood and oxygen going to your brain. That means a more productive, sharp mental state to efficiently and effectively make decisions and get work done throughout the day.

Make a Master To-Do List

To-do lists are awesome. They help you keep track of what you need to do, what others need to do and how you’re progressing. Use the old fashion pen and paper method or try an app like Noteworthy. Whatever your method, keep a consistent master to-do list and you won’t have to waste time trying to remember what’s on the day’s agenda.

Ask for Help

If you’re having trouble managing your time, ask for help from your staff and your family. Ask you assistant to ensure your blocked out batch task time is being respected; he or she should be your gatekeeper and enforcer. Ask your staff for help with where they can pick up some of the tasks on your list and to abide by your meeting policy (what’s the intention? What’s the desired outcome?). If the troubles are at home, ask your family to support you in more efficient time use. How can you solve the time crunch issue together as a family?

Skip the Cocktails

Having a drink on the weekends or here and there is totally acceptable, but as a rule, try to avoid cocktailing during the workweek. Even if you have a social event or dinner, opt for water and skip the booze. You don’t want to risk feeling slow or sluggish the next day. It’s a waste of time and you will regret having slowed yourself down.

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Adam Toren

About Adam Toren

Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.